2015 Blogging Amnesty

Happy New Year!

It’s that fun time of year when everyone is looking back over last year’s makes and setting goals for 2016. For my part, 2015 was full of wonderful new experiences. I moved to Rwanda to start a new job, meaning I got to explore local fabric markets, buy beautiful waxprints, and meet fantastic local sewists.

I haven’t actually counted but I’m pretty sure I sewed more this year than ever before. Since I slacked off blogging towards the end of the year, I thought I’d put an amnesty post together with some of the things I made but didn’t get round to sharing.

First up – True Bias Southport Dress in Nani Iro double gauze.

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This was my second go at this pattern (first one here) and I love it. It is the perfect floaty maxi dress for hot weather and I’ve already got a third version in mind. I also love this fabric. I internet stalked it for an embarrassingly long time before taking the plunge. The print is just gorgeous and it’s super soft and comfy to wear. I did have a bit of a mishap with the pattern however. I tried to scoop out the neckline a bit but overdid it and had to take up the straps to compensate. this made the waistline a little more empire-line than intended, but I love it anyway. It definitely gets a lot of wear.

Next – Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt in anchor denim

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This is a great quick little sew with some lovely details. I love the huge pockets and topstitching. I also love the gently curved shape of the waistband. I previously made the Kelly skirt, which has a straight waistband and I can say that the curve makes a huge  difference to the fit. I’ll be using it as a reference point for other patterns in future.

Next – Sew Caroline Out and About Dress in horse print jersey

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This is the first of two makes from right at the beginning of the year. This lightweight jersey fabric is too fine for this dress really (it’s a tweensy bit see-through), but it does make it lovely and cool to wear, even with long sleeves. It also hangs in a draped slinky kind of way, which I tell myself stops it from looking like a giant nightie… right??

And last but not least – Deer and Doe Bruyère shirt in plaid flannel

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I have no idea why I never got round to blogging this. It’s maybe my proudest ever make, as it incorporates lots of first time techniques – flat collar, sleeve plackets, back yoke etc. I’m also ridiculously proud of my plaid matching. I followed Lauren’s awesome tips, cutting the yoke and placket on the bias for contrast and using the notches to carefully match everywhere else. It makes me geekily happy every time I wear it, which is every time I go home to Europe, or to the cooler regions of Rwanda. I love the nipped in shape of this shirt. It’s definitely on the to-make-again list for this year.

And that’s my amnesty done. Ready for a fresh start in 2016. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Siobhan xx

Summer Southport Dress

Way back in February, pre-Kigali, M and I took a little trip to Paris. Having been several times before, we didn’t plan much. Our only scheduled activities were brunch at The Pancake Sisters (sooooo good) and a Studio Ghibli exhibition at Le Musée Art Ludique. Apart from that we just wandered and ate and shopped and explored and it was glorious. I was restrained in my fabric-buying, I just wanted one really special piece, a memento of our lovely weekend. I found it at Anna Ka Bazarre. This beautiful, supersoft Atelier Brunette cotton batiste, covered in tiny triangles.

What then followed were six months of being too scared to cut in to such lovely fabric, instead saving it for a pattern that was juuuuust right. In the end I settled on the Southport Dress, a newish pattern from True Bias.

The Southport dress is beautifully drafted, with very well-written instructions. It looks like a simple make but there are lots of lovely little details, like bar tacks across the pockets, which make it more of a challenge. I took my time, enjoying the process, working through each step carefully. The only frustration I had was inserting the bindings. I think my mistake was to use shop-bought cotton binding, which was considerably more substantial/stiff than the lovely fluid batiste of my dress. I went carefully, understitched, clipped, pressed etc. But I still got gathers and puckers and had to unpick bits at least 4 times, and they still don’t lie totally flat. I’m hoping they might soften a bit over time/washes, but we shall see. Takeaway nugget – if in doubt, make your own binding, fool.

Anyway, binding niggles aside, I am in LOVE with this dress. It is every bit as breezy and summery as I’d envisaged. I didn’t make any major fit alterations, I just graded between sizes based on my measurements and took out some length to account for my stumpy legs. I’m really happy with the fit, but be aware there is a lot of gathering, so stick with something lightweight fabric-wise. The buttons came from my new favourite haberdashery cupoard/shop in Town. I added an extra one because I was worried about potential gaping, but this wasn’t really necessary.

The fabric is just dreamy to wear. So soft, so flowy. I now want it in every other pattern/colourway. Next time I’m in Paris…

Siobhan xx

P.s. These photos may look all sweetness and light, but I had to stop mid-shoot to stamp on the most humungous cockroach, which was scuttling towards a crack under the back door. Keeping it real yo.